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Religion, Art, and MoneyEpiscopalians and American Culture from the Civil War to the Great Depression$
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Peter W. Williams

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469626970

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469626970.001.0001

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The Gospel of Wealth and the Gospel of Art

The Gospel of Wealth and the Gospel of Art

(p.175) Chapter Six The Gospel of Wealth and the Gospel of Art
Religion, Art, and Money

Peter W. Williams

University of North Carolina Press

The Episcopal church had no firm policy on how the riches of the wealthy elite should be spent philanthropically, but it during the Gilded Age it was entering a period of considerable and often heated debate as to what form charitable giving might best take and who was responsible for the plight of the poor. The Social Gospel movement, in which Episcopalians participated actively, was one major theological and institutional response to these questions. Another philanthropic issue of the day was the provision of cultural institutions like museums and libraries. Episcopalians were not unique among American Christians in discovering the religious potential of the material world. Wealthy Episcopalians donated or made available to the public their private collections of art, or funded public cultural institutions. The culture of urban America was manifestly enriched by their benevolences under the aegis of a church that had room for both the prophetic judgments of the Social Gospel and the sensual opulence of the Gospel of Art.

Keywords:   Andrew Carnegie, Social Gospel movement, J.P. Morgan, William Cooper Proctor, Isabella Stewart Gardner, George G. Booth, Henry Ford, W.A.R. Goodwin

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